May 28th, 2008
03:30 PM ET
14 years ago

Bartlett rips McClellan, calls allegation 'total crap'

ALT TEXT

McClellan and Bartlett worked closely together in the White House. (Getty Images)

Watch Dan Bartlett respond to McClellan at 4 p.m. ET on The Situation Room

(CNN) - Former White House counselor Dan Bartlett lashed out at Scott McClellan in a telephone interview Wednesday, saying the allegations that the media was soft on the White House are "total crap," adding that advisers of President Bush are "bewildered and puzzled" by the allegations in McClellan's new book.

"It's almost like we're witnessing an out-of-body experience," Bartlett said of McClellan. "We're hearing from a completely different person we didn't have any insight into."

Bartlett added that intimates of the President feel McClellan has violated his trust. "Part of the role of being a trusted adviser is to honor that trust," said Bartlett. "It's not your place now to go out" and criticize the President like this.

"What did he really believe when he was serving as press secretary?" Bartlett asked.

While he said McClellan himself has to "answer as to motive" for writing the book now, Bartlett said, "I do question his judgment."

Bartlett said the bewilderment stems from "Scott's decision to publicly air these deep misgivings he's never shared privately or publicly" with fellow Bush insiders. "To do it now, through a book, is a mistake," he added.

Bartlett asserted that McClellan did not play a major role in key events, noting that the former aide was serving as deputy press secretary for domestic issues during the run-up to the war in Iraq, raising questions about how McClellan could claim the President used "propaganda" to sell the war.

"I don't think he was in a position to know this," Bartlett said flatly. He said it's "troubling" that McClellan is now "gives credibility to every left-wing attack" on anecdotes that are "either thinly-sourced or not witnessed by him" in the White House.

Bartlett bluntly said it was "total crap" for McClellan to suggest the media was too easy on the Bush administration in the run-up to the Iraq war.

"The problem is the intelligence was wrong," said Bartlett. "But this debate has been conflated into either we lied or on your side the tough questions were not asked. I think the truth is the intelligence was wrong."

On the Hurricane Katrina allegations, Bartlett refused to confirm or deny McClellan's claim that he and Bartlett believed the President should not have flown over New Orleans but were overruled by Karl Rove. "I'm not going to rehash internal deliberations," he said. "We've all acknowledged the whole Katrina experience could have been handled better."


Filed under: President Bush
soundoff (416 Responses)
  1. renard

    A press secretary is not a advisor, nor is the speech writer. One guy or girl puts words in the Presidents mouth while the other trys to make sense of what was said.

    May 28, 2008 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  2. Is it too late?

    I remember a time when if you had anything bad to say about President George W. Bush you would be called anti-american......"You're either with us or with the terrorists"....Remember.
    NOW!!!!!!!!! Everyone has finally woken up [ I HOPE ] even Bush's former press secretary.

    Loyalty to the Country and NOT to the president.......it wouldn't be called a democracy if it was any other way.

    God Bless America.

    May 28, 2008 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  3. Bob Gormley

    Bush, Cheney, Rove, Rice are all a bunch of liars.
    Everybody knew this along time ago.
    Shame on the American people for burying their heads in the
    sand and not calling for the impeachment of Bush. The whole lot
    of murderers should be tried for war crimes in front of an international
    court. Innocent people are dead and many more have suffered under
    this ungodly administartion.

    May 28, 2008 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  4. david klaboe

    Of course the Bush bunker is going to attack McClellen.
    Just like they attack everyone who shines a light on them.
    Paul O'Neill was the first of many and McClellan is just the latest.
    We could hear a lot more if Colin Powell would tell the truth,
    but that would tarnish his own image, and show what crimes
    have been committed by Bush, Cheney, Condi, Rummy,
    Gonzales and Rove. Libby got pardoned to keep his mouth shut
    too. America has seen its darkest days in the past 7 years.

    May 28, 2008 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  5. Dave McDougal

    Money, money money. This is the real reason for the book.And he should be consider a traitor to his country and excile from the US> I dont like traitor to this country. From Dave in Elma, Wa.

    May 28, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  6. Eugene, Oregon

    Americans have only themselves to blame for the fiasco that has been George Bush. Every lie was swallowed. The media report the lies issued from Iraq every day about how "el quida" were killed when really innocent slobs who happened to be under US bombs were killed. Americans eat up the fear the Bush folks use to control us and maintain the status quo of the rich Bush friends and the subservient American sheep.

    May 28, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  7. karen

    We the American people have known this for a long time–hence the Obama Movement to take back our country!!! Would love to hear what Condi really knows and feels.

    May 28, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  8. Sadie

    Except it's all true, and probably isn't even half the real story. Nice try, Republicans.

    May 28, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  9. Disbelief

    I pity the person who believes anything coming out of Washington. Democratic, Republican, Whatever.

    May 28, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  10. Col Kilgore

    Dan Bartlett ?? HA HA.. He was the designated outside liar. Always filmed outside spewing the same crap that was coming from within. One thing for sure though. Anyone in BushCo should know what total crap is by now. They have been living it for 8 years.

    May 28, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  11. Monica

    Is it November yet???

    May 28, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  12. Sam, Menlo Park

    Well, either it is ALL a pack of lies – or he violated a trust and exposed your dirty little secrets – but it can't be BOTH of those things, so which is it, Bush? WHICH IS IT?

    Cuz the funny thing is – it's what everyone has already KNOWN about you – that you're a deceiving, lying, cheating, forging BASTARD who got us into Iraq for your own personal gain and that of your big corporate buddies.

    McClellan isn't telling us anything that we already didn't know.

    May 28, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  13. Anonymous

    YEAH YEAH YEAH, EVERYONE IS A LIAR, WHAT A BUNCH OF SIMPLISTICS OVERZEALOTS, JUST BECAUSE BUSH HAS OUT MANEUVERED ALL THE LEFT WING IMMORAL DEMOCRATS, YES MISTAKES WERE MADE , BUT THAT IS NO NEED TO DEMONIZED THE DEMOCRATS, WHERE WERE ALL YOU KIDS WHEN AMERICANS WERE DYING ON BEACHES IN EUROPE FIGHTING NAZI OPPRESSION? FIGHTING EVIL AND COMMUNISIM AND NOW ISLAM JIHAD IS NECESSARY, YOUR SIMPLISTIC ACCUSATIONS DO NOT HOLD UP, SO KEEP WISHING AND YELLING AND BEING VULGAR FOR THAT IS ALL YOU CAN BE, NO INTELLECTUAL DIALOGUE.. ITS AMAZING TO READ ALL THESE COMMENTS.
    LET ME CLUE YOU IN DESTROYING OUR ENEMIES IS NECESSARY FOR THE LONG TERM SURVIVAL OF THE USA, AND THE JEALOUSY MANY HAVE AGAINST IS NOT NEW BUT CLEARLY EVIDENT, GO JOIN THE MARINES AND TALK TO THEM ABOUT FIGHTING FOR A CAUSE. MEANWHILE YOU GONE TO JUST LAUGH IT OFF WITH SOME SUPERFICIAL REASONING.

    May 28, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  14. George

    I bet in the end SMU University will be sorry they got the Library. I refuse to call it a Presidentila library, because it will all be made up with lies. I hope he builds his home in Highland Park so he will be surrounded by the republicans that put him in the ruination of our precious country.

    May 28, 2008 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  15. Frank

    Boy I have heard it all now it's more then interesting that this book has caught all of the Bush insiders by surprise.

    They have been busy packing up for the move that's coming for then in Nov.

    But have you noticed that they are using words like "troubling" and trying to question McClellan's motives but nobody is saying that he is Lying?

    Maybe this is most telling as Noooo One is say it's not true.

    No one has refuted his allegations. Neither Dana Perino, Dan Bartlett, Karl Rove, V.P. Cheney, Pres. Bush, Tony Snow or anyone have PROVED he's lying, yet alone claimed. Seems to me that if someone was raising falsehoods through a book the first thing I'd do is state, categorically, that he's NOT TELLING THE TRUTH! Has anyone done that so far? NOPE!

    Is McClellan lying? I do not think so It's over for them even by their own party members, The gig is up.

    Frank

    Ca

    May 28, 2008 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  16. Austin E

    I'm in business, and if I am considering working somewhere, I look at how the outgoing people felt about their jobs and why they left, especially after their jobs are no longer on the line.

    If the White House has so many disgruntled employees leaving, what do you think that tells you about what happens there?

    May 28, 2008 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  17. Barbara - 65 yr old white female in NC

    Did you SEE the look of utter GLEE on McShame's face when he was talking about NEVER surrendering ....... In other words, he's happy to stay there 100 years

    God !!! I despise the devil's desciples.

    May 28, 2008 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  18. Frankie T.

    Hey everyone. The only difference between the Bush administration and the Clinton administration is this: the dates they held office.

    Bush and his folks can't own up to blunders and mistakes and try to cover things up so they look all pretty.

    Clinton and his folks couldn't fess up either – or keep their hands (ahem) off interns.

    Regardless of what they intend before taking office (or say they will do while campaigning), it's the same old broken record. And for the Obama supporters, unfortunately, it'll be more of the same with him if he gets the nod.

    We need all three branches of government to change at the same time for some real progress, maybe even just two of them. However, it's doubtful that's something any of us will see in our lifetime.

    Oh Canada...........

    May 28, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  19. seaskibum

    History will compare the Bush Administration to George Orwell's 1984 and Animal Farm. The parallels include groupthink, changing enemy, increased surveillance of its citizens, use of propaganda to control and loss of freedoms. As Bush's imperial reigns ends and the fear of being sent to GITMO diminishes, the world and even McClellen are speaking out against Bush. We have been in Iraq since 1989 and I think OPEC is telling us to get out of Iraq and find a Middle East peace. OPEC can't hurt us militarily but they are hurting us economically.

    May 28, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  20. SYM

    A surprise to who? Watch out for the quiet ones......Maybe they should have kept him more in the loop.Keep your friends close but your enimies closer.

    May 28, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  21. Tony

    I can say no more or any better than what proceeds.

    Where's the guy that opens the window and shouts "I'm not going to take it anymore?". Actually, I guess there are a lot of those. How about somebody doing something about it?

    May 28, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  22. JNRS

    I think the real story here is how soft the news media went on the administration during the lead up to the war, when anyone with two braincells to rub together knew the Bush Administration was misleading, warping the facts or outright lying to the press. Shame on the US media and CNN for not doing their job, investigative reporting.

    Scott McClellan can see the handwriting on the wall and is merely an opportunist. He bares as much guilt as anyone else in the administration and deserves no praise for deciding to tell the "truth" now.

    May 28, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  23. Michael

    The truth hurts ...

    May 28, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  24. Dave of Oregon

    I think it quite funny. Here was a guy who was stating that Rove et al wouldn't lie to him only to tell us that they did! So what else is knew? The real question is : Will the book actually sell? Probably not! Everything so far seen only suggests that in order for this president to look good, everybody else must look bad! Either that or there is certainly a lot of "sour grapes" in the White House ever since Mr. Bush took office. Put Jessica Simpson in the place of Dana Perino and nothing changes! And we have at least a half of a year left before an actual cleansing of the White House can occur. The book hopes to put some distance between fantasy and lies, between reality and fantasy, and between sane and insane! McClellan has to come forth to speak his mind which will make eyes grow wider because if he is to be believed, he must tell all which really be worth listening to! Details, we want details!

    May 28, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  25. Cole-Boston

    Send the whole bunch of those clowns in the White House down on our Mexican border & let them stop the illegal aliens from coming in the country! Cheney & Bush at the front of the line!!

    May 28, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
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